I’m not going to lie to you, the last few months have been brutal. California is being ravaged by lightning storms and fires, I’m anxious about the state of the world, and our country, and the upcoming election, we’re adjusting to distance learning and working from home on top of each other, and don’t even get me started on the unexpected heat waves. I DO NOT do well in heat.
As new challenges seem to keep popping up like popcorn, this year has forced me to work hard on being more present, and focusing on the little joys, and simple pleasures, that emerge from the darkness each day. Here are a few of things that are lifting me up when I am feeling down (in no particular order).
My 9-Year Old’s Tremendous Self Esteem
Yesterday, my nine-year-old, Emilie, looked in the mirror, and exclaimed, to no one in particular, “I look amazing!!” This was especially striking because her white overalls were absolutely filthy, she had holes in her striped socks (note to self – Emilie needs new socks), and I’m not sure when the last time was that she’d brushed her hair. When I asked her why she thought she looked amazing, she replied, “because I don’t care what anyone thinks about me. I know I am amazing, and I know I look amazing.” BAM. I’ll have whatever she’s having.
Just when I thought I had run out of things to watch, I came across Expecting Amy on HBO. This mini docu-series follows comedian Amy Schumer through her extraordinarily difficult pregnancy while she prepares for her next comedy special. It’s funny and brutal and sweet and touching – all at once.
I Found Pretty and Absorbent Dish Towels
These beautiful linen tea towels are woven by artisans in France, and in addition to being soft and lightweight and easy on the eyes, they can actually dry an entire counter of dishes! They’re a bit of an investment (I only own three), but you can use code SHIRAxKEPT for 15% off. They look lovely in our kitchen, and have made drying dishes, and wiping down counters, exponentially more pleasant (and successful).
Trader Joe’s Blondie Bar Mix
Stick with me here. I don’t usually make things out of the box. If we’re being honest, I rarely cook or bake at all, but when I do, I prefer using fresh, seasonal ingredients. But, there is one major exception, and it is the blondie bar mix from Trader Joe’s. You just add oil and an egg to the mix and cook it for twenty-eight minutes. I serve them warm and sweeten the deal with a scoop of Strauss vanilla bean ice cream and a sprinkle of flakey sea salt. When I tell you that this dessert has made grown men cry at my dinner table, I mean it has actually made GROWN MEN CRY. It’s sweet and salty comfort food, and the cool ice cream balances it out to perfection. Healthy it is not, but it checks the delicious box in spades.
I’m Creating a New Program
My Kitchen and Pantry Makeover Program is in the works, and since I have a lot on my plate, I asked myself what would make it more fun/simple/easy to create. The answer was to partner with my brother, Max. He is one of my favorite people on the entire planet, and he also happens to be a culinary consultant, talented chef, and a minimalist. We’re going to combine my organizing expertise with his intricate knowledge of the kitchen, filtered through our shared love of minimalism. I’m so excited to share it with you soon!
That’s what I’ve got for you today. I’d love to know: What little things are making you happy? How are you finding moments of joy and meaning in 2020?
Image Credit: Vivian Johnson Photo